You’ve grown older with these years. Sagged into them, your worn out chair, too comfortable to discard. I have too. Now there are knots in these bones. A lattice work of knuckle and knobble and I cannot help you to your feet propel you across the kitchen sidestep, kick, flick, turn and lift! jitterbug us into three am. I cannot swagger with the same strength of 1970s rock’n’roll disco room dance floors. We are old together it seems. These feet became stepping stones. Smaller ones, with laughing mouths who clutch the knuckles and knobbles without thought. We were always old to them. They are young, and so very youthful, and I will show them how we danced. This Tuesday’s DVerse Poet’s Pub prompt is a corker! Write a poem from the point of view of someone who’s not your gender. Check the challenge out for yourself and see what the other Pub Poets have in store!
Your Grandmother lived in this blocked of flats with no elevator, and when she turned sixty your mum tried to make her move out. She stood there, biscuit tin in hand, holding a photo of your Granddad as if your mum was a demon and he was the bible. ‘This is my home!’ she said, and in the end your mother gave up. We cheered. Back then it was easy to side with the little old lady who told us stories and fed us cake. We didn’t see the grizzly side of getting old. That bit sneaks up on you.
At ninety-five, Margery Yolk was pretty sure that she had made every wish that could be required in life. She let someone else see to the door, the steady stream of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren parading into her little bungalow in Ipswich, hugs and good wishes in hand. She kept to her armchair and wondered if perhaps she should have at least attempted to find her false teeth for this occasion… When the cake came she smiled, beckoning the youngest in close to blow out the candles for her. “You can have my wish,” she whispered.
She couldn’t cope by herself apparently. She’d asked if she could visit the house again, just to pick up some old photos. Her son had shook his head, telling her nonsense about how it would only upset her and the strain wasn’t good at her age, as if the scale of years had reversed her to a child without free-will once more. The stranger caught her by surprise. Photos in hand she sat, none of the nervous hovering the family had taken to. “We found them under the floorboards while we were refurbishing.” she’d said. “Would you tell me about them?”
We took turns counting out the left-over pennies, dug out from beneath fifty year old settee cushions. The ones not left-over, found the day before when our granddaughter lost an ipod between the seats, they had clattered down into the ceramic gut of a bright pink pig. It would do well for a girl you said; before sneaking away to your workshop and painting quotes from all her favourite books across every spare speck of curve you could find. I picked out the silver tissue paper and the plum coloured ribbon, I knew you couldn’t wrap to save your life.
This week Eccentric Chai set a fantastic writing challenge. Think of someone you know, take their age and use it as a word limit for a piece of writing about them. I’ve written a couple so far but I think I may have a go at writing a few more since I really am enjoying this prompt. Antonia We do insanity well. Eccentricity is an art-form we long since mastered and balanced out against each other’s minds. You I’m waiting for a fragment of me to stick in your throat and choke us. I’ve never had commitment to catch me. Alice We forged our friendship in distance and demoted time to change only appearance and leave connections as they were.
(Image Source) “You think me old?” asked the man whose folds could tell you of booted feet in bog soaked trenches, too numb from cold to tell when the rot set in. “You think me old?” asked the man who’d watched women in polka dot men twirl on the arms of boys not fated to come home again. “You think me old?” asked the man who’d once held books with more care than that which he’d showed to the new born babe passed from his wife’s arms. The man who matched each title to the lines etched in his face and called each new one a moment more of knowledge. “You think me old?” asked the man. “I am as old as what I have learnt, and what is left for me to learn marks me but a babe.”
They forget that we mortals are tied to the clocks Lashed to the turning of gears and old cogs While their youth remains endless and death a rare myth Our years roll by and so grows life’s rift. Her beauty entranced him when the gardens were young And the rose bushes held buds still to be sprung But restlessness grows in the white of new wings When the promise of flight in the wind whispers and sings. She’ll forget that mortals are tied to the clocks Lashed to the turning of gears and old cogs And the gardens will bloom in the promise of spring But mortal hands will stop when the final chime rings. So she’ll lie across steps where their feet once fell And the memories of smiles can still yet be held For his bones have been lost to the passing of time To mix with the soil from where the ivy does climb.